How to Reduce Prototyping Costs Using Digital Technologies
Optimize time, effort and resources with 3D technologies
After developing a new product, manufacturers must take on additional expenditures to showcase the product to the market before beginning mass production. In some cases, only a digital prototype is required while others may require a physical prototype. Products vary in terms of complexity, and for this reason prototype costs can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. While expensive, prototypes have several benefits for the long run and make for a less risky business venture when first introducing a product to the market.
The Benefits of Having a Prototype
Prototypes are first useful for fine tuning your product, and identifying any remaining areas of improvement. They allow you to test different design concepts, the functioning and overall feasibility of the product.
Prototypes also allow you the unique opportunity to have customers interact with your product before it hits stores and provide feedback. If your company is in need of investors, the prototype may also help in showcasing your business to potential financiers. Having a physical product for customers and investors to observe will stimulate more trust in your product and encourage consumer excitement for when the product enters the market.
Giving consumers the ability to see and interact with your prototype will generate more anticipation of your product, as compared to reading a text description or seeing a simple sketch. Visualization is the key to beginning the sales process.
Risks of Not Having a Prototype
Prototypes are expensive, and it is understandable that some entrepreneurs would not want to invest in this step of the process. However, the associated risks of not having a prototype should be considered before making this decision.
Not creating a prototype means that you have no way of testing your product before launching it. You will not be able to completely test the functionability and design of your product before investing in production, marketing and related costs. If an issue arises with the product, there may be irreversible costs that may have been avoided with a prototype.
Additionally, it is more difficult to attain funding from investors if they cannot view and interact with a physical version of your product. In the long run, prototypes can decrease avoidable issues with your product and sunk costs, while also making your product more appealing to investors and customers pre-launch.
How and Where to Showcase your Prototype
Typically, prototypes are displayed at trade shows, conventions, one-on-one meetings with potential investors and at similar product-launch events. In these settings, you should allow investors and customers to see how your product works, and allow them to personally interact with it. Having a member of your team demonstrate how the product works and then opening the floor up to consumers to try will be the most effective. Investors and customers alike need to see the value in your product, which is most often tied to its function. These trade shows and events are your opportunity to show this value.
The downside to showcasing your physical prototype at these events is the cost, space availability, and competition. Some trade shows may be open for other companies to partake in as well, putting you on display directly alongside competition. The costs and resources required to put on these events may also be straining for new companies and startups looking to launch their products. Fortunately, there is a way to reduce prototyping costs and simplify this process for prototype development: the 3D configurator.
Configurator Can Optimize Prototype Development
A digital prototype allows companies to observe a physical product before it is made. With configurator technologies, companies can test the product, modify its external appearance and analyze design details to optimize the fine-tuning process. This technology shortens the time it takes for the product to get to the market, preserves resources and saves money while still maintaining high quality. Essentially, the configurator eliminates the need for a physical prototype, giving companies the opportunity to test the product before manufacturing a physical version. Here are some other advantages of using the 3D configurator to streamline production:
Flexible Product Rules Engine
A production help
A product rules engine makes it easy for manufacturers to automatically generate bills of materials, design changes and other modifications in response to a product’s configuration data. This engine also allows for manufacturer-specific customization to be applied to pre-exisitng products.
Business Systems Integration
Fast and convenient sharing
Integrating your configurator with your product data management system will provide for fast and convenient sharing of product informaton. This will allow employees to retrieve information that they need more easily to complete technical product specifications.
Explore our configurators page!
Visualization for Consumers
Elevate your customer experience
Showcasing your configurator on your website as a part of your online store will elevate your customer experience. This will allow customers to make customizations directly to their product order, which can then be communicated to your manufacturing team, improving communication between the market and your business systems.
Automating Sales Process
Records data and customizes the experience
Configurators allow for customer data to populate into existing customer records and adjust the shopping experience accordingly. This technology improves the sales and product data management systems by creating auto-generated proposals, workflows and dynamic pricing. Overall, the sales to production process is streamlined with the help of the 3D configurator.
VR can Optimize Prototype Development
In addition to digital 3D prototypes, businesses may take advantage of virtual reality tools to provide for customer-product interaction. Virtual reality headsets allow customers to view a prototype through VR as opposed to a physical copy.
This software is said to have reduced the amount of product design modifications, decreased prototype related costs and enhanced the immersive aspect of prototype testing by 40%-65%. It is especially popular in the aircraft, automotive, healthcare, real estate and consumer electronics industries.
An additional benefit is that of collaboration, since VR prototypes allow for multiple developers and designers to work on the prototype. Virtual Reality allows for customers to view the product in various forms and designs, but still offers them the same level of realistic interaction with the product.
Prototypes are a foundational step in the process of successful producing and launching a new product. This can be an expensive and time consuming project, putting additional stress on a new business. Fortunately, in today’s digital age, there are technological tools to simplify and expedite this process, which have benefits that last beyond the product launch.
A 3D configurator serves as a digital prototype, a starting point for business systems integration, sales automation and an enhanced customer experience. This innovative tool will help showcase your new product to potential investors and customers in a way that encourages them to connect with your product, as they can interact with a tangible version (even though it is only a digital copy).
Utilizing technology to improve your product display will reduce prototyping costs and associated risks, while providing your team with more accessible resources and personalizing customer experience.
A designer by training, I have been working on communications and marketing for In2real since 2019. You can engage with me and my team to identify your company’s needs and define the right strategy.